Too much information. That's what parents are saying about the "birds and bees" lessons in a new health textbook for high school freshmen.
Parents say the book mentions vibrators and bondage and is inappropriate for 13- and 14-year-olds. More than a hundred parents showed up at the district offices to check the book for themselves.
The book at the center of the controversy is “Your Health Today.” In less than three weeks 2, 400 ninth graders will be using the text book in their health classes. But already more than 1,200 people have signed a petition to pull the book, claiming it exposes students to sexual games – even sexual fantasies and bondage with handcuffs, ropes and blindfolds.
“The movie industry has long ago figured out that there is a big difference between appropriate content for 13-year-olds and 18-year-olds,” one parent wrote. “The FUSD school board action essentially amounts to choosing a NC-17 or R-rated movie instead of a PG-13 movie to show to our 9th graders."
Others commented the content might mislead high school students.
Becky Bruno, the mother of a 13-year-old about to enter night grade, came into the district office Wednesday to check the book out herself.
“The information in there is factual,” Bruno said. “There’s nothing in there that’s going to make him go exploring more than they have access to on their smartphones or Internet. Nothing made me feel that it was inappropriate.
Health teachers from all six high schools in the district recommended the text book to replace an earlier one which is 10 years old. The board approved the new book in June.
“The teacher’s really said ‘what’s the best up-to-date material,’ and this was their recommendation – and I supported that recommendation,” said district superintendent Jim Morris. “Books have been ordered and school begins on Aug. 27.”
If parents are still upset about the book, they can have their children opt out of health class.